The club moss plant (Huperzia serrata) has been used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine. Now an extract of this plant is showing great promise as a remedy for those suffering mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
It works in a similar way to some of the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s patients, and yet appears to be more effective, safer to use, and its effects last up to twelve times longer. It may also improve learning and memory in healthy people as well, and that’s exciting news to those of us who – thank God – don’t suffer from dementia and want to keep it that way.
The brain’s parietal lobes are its thought factory, responsible for functions such as language comprehension, learning, and immediate memory. And it is in these lobes that acetylcholine, one of the brain’s four key biochemicals, is produced. Acetylcholine is required for all the thinking functions I just mentioned, and more.
It’s a normal part of aging to see levels of acetylcholine fall, but those with Alzheimer’s produce an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase that lowers levels even further, by as much as 90%. A decline that sharp is a disaster. Nerve cells have trouble both sending and receiving signals, leading to serious mental decline.
The main drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s focus on blocking this enzyme to allow acetylcholine levels to rise and cognitive function to improve. And that’s what the extract of this ancient Chinese plant called huperzine A is able to do, but much more effectively.
Professor Joel Sussman of the Weizmann Institute in Israel said, “It is as if this natural substance were ingeniously designed to fit into the exact spot in acetylcholinesterase where it will do the most good.”
Studies Support Huperzine A
In one study about 58% of patients treated with huperzine A showed significant improvement in memory, cognition, and behavioral functions, leading the researchers to say that it “is a promising drug for symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
In another study the researchers concluded that huperzine A is “a safe and effective medicine